Between Frustration and Excitement
During my ongoing literature review I often discover interesting facts about things I’ve never thought about. Sometimes I can connect these facts with my own observations: The result is mostly a completely new idea why things are as they are. Maybe these ideas are new to you, too. Therefore I’ll share my new science based knowledge with you!
This week: This time, I think about my struggle of constantly having issues during virtual races and the motivational effects of the game that keep me going despite my negative experiences.
Since I joined the Conelanders Assetto Corsa League, things have not worked out so well for me. Aside from a few top-10 finishes, I never had a race I was really content with. The reasons for this are quite simple but yet very complex.
The probably main problem was that I rarely had the chance to spend a high amount of time practicing the race tracks which resulted in a huge disadvantage concerning the overall pace. Most of the time, I was, depending on the track, 3 – 8 seconds slower than the fast drivers. In addition, the lack of practice increased the chances of making a mistake or being overtaken by another car. Furthermore, my slower pace was also problematic when I lost contact with a group of cars due to an incident as I was not able to catch up with them again.
The other main reason for my mediocre results was the high amount of race incidents I was involved in. During the majority of the races I was spun out at least once by another driver who tried to overtake me at a place where it is not possible or in a way that was just too aggressive. Being spun out not only broke my concentration but also resulted in a huge loss of time and, due to my lack of speed, to a loss of contact with the other drivers. As soon as I was spun out during a race, the chances for a decent finish were ruined already.
In the end, I was frequently frustrated after a race weekend as I rarely managed to complete my personal goal of having a clean race which then could easily have resulted in a top-10 finish. As a result of this, I often was questioning myself if I should not stop participating in those races.
However, as participating in such a Conelanders race as well as driving a virtual race car in general always resulted in me playing at the very edge of my skill level, I was all the time motivated to compete in the next race despite all the negative experiences I made during the previous race again. As soon as I calmed down and overcame the frustration caused by the last race, I accepted the challenge of racing anew.
As a conclusion, the struggle between frustration and excitement is a prime example for the motivational effects of flow. Assetto Corsa as well as the Conelanders League provide me with a clear goal, new (or better the same as I never exhausted one) challenges and a constant feedback. In addition, the activity of racing exactly matches my personal skill level thus resulting in me being completely immersed in the gameplay.
Unfortunately, the motivational effects start to decline as I constantly encounter the same issues over and over again. Although flow has a huge motivational effect, it can not overcome a constant stream of disappointments and needs to be backed up with some successes. Hopefully, this will happen in the next race …
… challenge accepted!